Dance was featured in late pre-cinema and early film because it showed movement in human scale. Among the earliest films—nickelodeons, Mutoscopes, and other mechanical projections—are dozens of studio films produced by Thomas Edison showing social or musical-comedy dance performances, ranging from Annabelle (Moore) (1878–1961) twirling her skirts, in imitation of another dancer of the period, Loie Fuller (1862–1928), in Annabelle Butterfly Dance (1894) to the Cake Walk series (1897–1903). Edison also filmed well-known vaudeville stars, such as Dave Montgomery and Fred Stone (who played the Tin Man and the Scarecrow in the 1903 Broadway musical version of The Wizard of Oz ), as examples of eccentric dance. Early narrative films set the pattern for using social dance to indicate period or social class. The first full-length extant films to feature dancers were both made in 1915: The Whirl of Life , starring and based on the lives of the ballroom dancers Irene (1893–1964) and Vernon Castle (1887–1918), integrated their specialty, the Castle walk, into the plot. The Dumb Girl of Portici , Lois Weber's version of the opera Maisannello , or La Muette di Portici , starring the great Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (1881–1931), did the same with ballet.
In the 1920s feature films frequently used social dance to depict chronology. Present tense or contemporary